Ok, so I highly doubt My Wardrobe needs any introduction but just in case my Dad/Brother/Great Aunt is reading this, it’s one of THE hottest online shopping destinations right now. In just 6 short years the site has gone from start up to major league player stocking the coveted likes of Carven, 3.1 Phillip Lim, A.P.C, Markus Lupfer (so yes, all my faves) plus many more besides. Having basically fainted with fash-induced over excitement at their SS13 press day I can say without a shadow of doubt that things are only going to get chicer over the years to come. Of course, even the fabulous likes of My Wardrobe wouldn’t have scaled the dizzy sartorial heights it has without passionate professionals like PR Director, Lauren Stevenson to make it happen.
I caught up with Lauren to get the inside scoop on her incredible career and My Wardrobe’s plans for (fashion) world domination…
LPA: Tell me a little about your background, where did you grow up, study etc…
LS: I grew up in a tiny village in Wiltshire before going to university in Southampton to study Marketing. I really enjoyed the PR aspect of the course and felt it was the direction I wanted to take my career.
LPA: What was your first job in fashion and how did you get it?
LS: I started researching PR agencies and found the then Aurelia PR, which was the most prestigious luxury fashion agency of the time. The clients included Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Elie Saab, Krug and George Jensen. I was lucky enough to secure a two week internship during my university break and was even luckier to be given a job as an Account Executive as soon as I finished university. The day after I left university on the Friday I moved to London and went straight to work on the Monday.
LPA: How did you get from there to the coveted role of PR Director for My-Wardrobe?
LS: After Aurelia PR I moved to Ketchum, a global consumer agency and after that to Hill and Knowlton where I was managing a start-up etailer called my-wardrobe.com. After a year of building the brand, I was asked to join the business and build the in-house team and global PR strategy as PR Director.
LPA: Talk me through a typical day as PR Director for a major international e-tailer…
LS: I catch up on the day before’s sales and then the day’s news through Twitter on the way to the tube and then get to my desk with a Pret latte at about 8:45am. I sit with my team so we have an open fluid communication throughout the day between my meetings with either editors, our brands, the buying team or our CEO or Founder. With our international offices in Australia, Middle East, Scandinavia and soon to be open US and Germany I split my day around the different time zones, which can take some serious multi-tasking.
LPA: In just six years, my-wardrobe has become one of the most popular online designer shopping destinations in the world. What do you feel has been the ‘secret’ to its’ success?
LS: Our curated edit, our tone and point of view and the accessible price point. It’s not presenting every piece of each collection it’s about presenting an unique curated edit, our favourite must-have pieces of each collection that fit perfectly into your wardrobe.
LPA: I can imagine that looking good and keeping up with current trends is something of a job requirement. Do you have a failsafe fashion formula?
LS: Doing this job definitely makes you consider what to wear for work a bit more. I love to project a sense of glamour. A killer heel, a fitted shift dress, leather leggings and a nipped in blazer. I adore accessories and I’m not afraid to pile them on.
LPA: Since My-Wardrobe launched in 2006 the influence of online media and social networking has grown massively. Has this affected your PR strategy?
LS: The fashion world has changed completely since I started working in PR but definitely for the better and digital has revolutionised the media landscape and how we consume fashion. Social media has created a global conversation in which you can integrate your brand. It’s turned traditional PR on its head and those who have understood both its potential and pitfalls have been hugely successful.
LPA: On that subject, what are your views on the print V digital debate, should one be awarded more gravitas than the other? And do you think that the rise of digital press will ever leave print publications redundant?
LS: I think that there is an important place for both and they should compliment each other. The focus should be on creating a 360 media brand experience through print, online and social media. You need to look at the consumer and their needs and adapt accordingly.
LPA: Fashion PR is one of the most competitive areas of the industry these days and I’m sure you must be inundated with internship requests and CVs from potential employees. Are there any particular qualities or qualifications you look for in applicants?
LS: I look for relevant experience on a CV but once they are through the door what I really notice is an understanding of our business, the industry and the media and then absolute passion and determination. That ‘I won’t stop at anything until I get the job done to the highest standard’.
LPA: What advice would you give to someone hoping for a career in fashion PR? Do you think it’s worth doing a specialized degree in the subject at a University like LCF or is it better to just gain experience through interning?
LS: A degree will always give you the edge and it doesn’t need to be fashion, PR or marketing. A degree in a language or English can be equally as beneficial as so much about what we do is based on communication. The actual on the ground experience is the best asset you can have and being able to gain experience in both consumer and fashion PR, agency and in-house will set you apart.
Love Ella. X